Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power

Front Cover
Basic Books, 2004 - History - 351 pages
133 Reviews
The British Empire was the largest in all history: the nearest thing to world domination ever achieved. By the eve of World War II, around a quarter of the world's land surface was under some form of British rule. Yet for today's generation, the British Empire seems a Victorian irrelevance. The time is ripe for a reappraisal, and in Empire, Niall Ferguson boldly recasts the British Empire as one of the world's greatest modernizing forces.An important new work of synthesis and revision, Empire argues that the world we know today is in large measure the product of Britain's Age of Empire. The spread of capitalism, the communications revolution, the notion of humanitarianism, and the institutions of parliamentary democracy-all these can be traced back to the extraordinary expansion of Britain's economy, population, and culture from the seventeenth century until the mid-twentieth. On a vast and vividly colored canvas, Empire shows how the British Empire acted as midwife to modernity.Displaying the originality and rigor that have made him the brightest light among British historians, Ferguson shows that the story of the Empire is pregnant with lessons for today-in particular for the United States as it stands on the brink of a new era of imperial power, based once again on economic and military supremacy. A dazzling tour de force, Empire is a remarkable reappraisal of the prizes and pitfalls of global empire.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power

User Review  - Thomas Simpson - Goodreads

Niall Ferguson is my guilty pleasure. You can question his biased, right-wing, white, protestant, City of London, anglophilic perspective and the implications it might have on sloppy history, but at least it's damn entertaining. Read full review

Review: Empire: How Britain Made The Modern World

User Review  - Liz Polding - Goodreads

A thoughtful and informative analysis of what the empire was, what it meant, why it happened and why it came to an end. It would be very easy to succumb to the kind of cultural absolutism which judges ... Read full review

All 15 reviews »


Why Britain?
White Plague
The Mission
Heavens Breed
Empire for Sale
Illustration Acknowledgements

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2004)

Niall Ferguson is Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at Jesus College, Oxford. He is the author of Paper and Iron, The House of Rothschilds , and The Pity of War ). He writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement , and lives in Oxford.

Bibliographic information